Q: Dr. Eppley, I had a mini tummy tuck with muscle repair 6 years ago. I am unhappy that my belly button is lower than I would like. I have some loose skin elasticity—is it possible to pull my belly button back up to more of the placement it was prior to my surgery?
A: One of the potential disadvantages of a mini-tummy tuck is that the belly button can be pulled down because, unlike a full tummy tuck it is never transposed. It remains with the skin that is pulled down and often looks and is lower. Usually this is not a problem in most cases but umbilical distortion can occur as the funnel of the belly button is turned downward. This problem can be difficult to fix but not impossible. There are two potential approaches. First, a superior umbilical lift may be possible based on the elasticity of the surrounding abdominal skin. By removing a small crescent of skin at the upper umbilical hood, there can be some upward tilt to it giving a slight superior repositioned look. Secondly, there is a vertical umbilical lift which is very similar to the lollipop breast lift. This is the most effective approach to lifting the belly button but will result in a vertical scar that is left in the wake of where the belly button used to be. The choice of either umbilical lift approach depends on how much upward movement one wants to achieve. I would need to see a picture of the current position of your belly button and then another one which shows where you would like it to be.
Dr. Barry Eppley